When a local beauty queen, Ella Jones, pops into porno stardom--""Miss Magic""--London lawyer/novelist Alan Lang gets interested because his neighbors find themselves implicated: the unlikeliest people are attracted to and put in place by Miss Magic's salacious success, especially one old fool who accidentally gets his bare serf into one of the blue films. From this mild, incongruous comedy, Jones pulls together a picture of England in the ""25th hour""--that post-moral, ahistorical society that now prevails ""where there is no time for learning lessons or taking precautions; events and emotions stack up like successive snowstorms."" A civilized man, Lang would like to see less brash candor, less crassness--but it's not to be; since he's also a novelist, Lang takes the opportunity to explore, intelligently but obtrusively, the differences between writers in Eastern Europe and in the West: survival vs. spuriousness. Not so heavy-breathing as Fowles' Daniel Martin or grimly determined as Margaret Drabble's The Ice Age, Jones' little stockbook of England-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket adds to the genre. He's a humane, discretionary writer, his tact is a great pleasure, but still the sanctimony is laid on a bit thick. It was meant, this book, to take serious bounces under the bright tent of social satire; but for the very reasons that make hero Lang and author Jones so likable--their sympathy, their restraint, their character--the bounces are rather too often more like thuds, dumpy rather than springy. Still--good work from a grand writer.